Being involved in a car accident is challenging enough, but it is particularly frustrating when the at-fault driver does not have car insurance. Unfortunately, Florida has a high rate of car accidents that involve uninsured or underinsured drivers. If you are a car accident victim and the at-fault driver does not have enough car insurance to cover your injuries, you could face long-term medical and financial consequences.
Purchasing your own uninsured motorist coverage can help you protect yourself, and there are ways that you can stack your coverage to cover more of your damages. There are two types of uninsured motorist insurance — stacked and non-stacked; we will discuss stacking versus non-stacking uninsured motorist coverage below.
Florida Requires Two Types of Auto Insurance
Under Florida law, drivers must purchase two types of auto insurance, property damage liability (PD) and personal injury protection (PIP). Florida is a no-fault insurance state, and as a result, a driver’s PIP coverage will cover any medical expenses up to $10,000 without regard to which driver was at fault.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
What happens if your medical expenses exceed $10,000 and the other driver does not have insurance at all? Florida does require insurance companies to offer their customers the option to purchase uninsured motorist coverage (UIM). However, customers may opt out of uninsured motorist coverage, so not every driver has this type of insurance.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects an insured person when he or she is involved in a car accident with a driver who either does not have insurance or does not have enough bodily injury insurance to cover the damages. For example, suppose you suffer a permanent injury in a car accident and have purchased uninsured motorist coverage. In that case, your UIM policy will cover your medical bills, pain and suffering, and loss of income up to the limits of your policy:
- After your PIP has already been exhausted, and
- When the driver at fault for the car accident does not have bodily injury liability insurance or does not have enough bodily injury liability insurance to pay for all of your damages
Drivers should understand that uninsured motorist coverage will only protect them if they carry bodily injury coverage in an amount exceeding their UIM coverage.
Stacked and Non-Stacked Insurance
There are two types of UIM coverage – stacked and non-stacked. When a car accident victim has stacked UIM on his or her car insurance policy, he or she can obtain more significant protection. The driver can bind their uninsured motorist insurance policy within the same insurance policy or across different insurance policies.
Stacking Within a Single Uninsured Motorist Policy
Suppose you have purchased one uninsured motorist policy with limits for a single car of up to $50,000 per person and up to $150,000 per accident. There are two vehicles listed on the single insurance policy. Suppose you are in a motor vehicle accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist in a hit-and-run accident. In that case, your uninsured motorist payment limits can be stacked together, so you have total coverage of up to $100,00 per person and $300,00 per accident.
Stacking Across Uninsured Motorist Policies
Let’s examine how stacking uninsured motorist policies across policies works. Suppose a driver has $100,000 of uninsured motorist coverage on one car. She also has $100,000 of uninsured motorist coverage on a different vehicle. In this case, she may be able to stack the uninsured motorist coverage limit to $100,000, even when the insurance coverage is from two different insurance policies. Many benefits come with stacking insurance policies, mainly that the victim will receive more compensation for his or her injuries.
With non-stacked insurance coverage, the car crash victim cannot aggregate the insurance benefits. Instead, he or she is only allowed to receive the uninsured motorist coverage limit on one car insurance policy. This can result in less coverage available to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact a Florida Uninsured Motorist Lawyer Today
Have you or your loved one been injured in a Florida car accident by a driver who does not have auto insurance or has enough Insurance to pay your medical expenses? If so, you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. Insurance laws in Florida are complicated, and it can be challenging to negotiate the settlement you deserve on your own.
Whether you are working with another person’s insurance company or your own insurance company, an attorney will be able to protect your right to compensation and hold the insurance company accountable. Contact Gould Cooksey Fennell today to schedule your free initial consultation to learn more about how we can advocate for your right to compensation.